used at SMHC
Telemedicine was first used in the 1960s when the Gemini and Apollo astronauts were monitored via two way video connections with Space Medicine Specialists in Houston. That same concept is now being used by St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals with Boise based psychiatrists, Emergency Department consultations, cardiologists from Spokane and, as of mid October, with telehospitalists.
Hospitalists are board certified physicians that focus on treatment of hospitalized patients. It is the fastest growing medical specialty in the United States with about 75% of practicing hospitalists trained in general internal medicine. Their mission is to work closely with the patient’s primary care provider while the patient receives care in the hospital.
“Because our clinic and hospital are on the same campus we can easily round on our patients when they are hospitalized before we begin seeing our clinic patients. Employing hospitalists doesn’t make sense in our situation. However, sometimes we must make a decision about whether or not a patient should be transferred to a tertiary care center in another city,” said Dr. Andrew Gilbert, SMHC family practice physician. “Most patients want to remain close to family and friends and receive care locally, but, as doctors, we must make a decision about what is best, from a medical perspective, for that patient. Having telehospitalists available via the robot provides another set of eyes and ears to provide input into that decision.”
According to Dr. Gilbert both SMHC and CVHC recently began partnering with InHouseTeleMD for consultative services. Hospitalists based in Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene and Holy Family Hospital in Spokane will be providing 24/7 services, whenever necessary, to the local physicians using their InTouch Remote Presence or RP-7 robot.
“I used the service the first weekend it was available,” said Dr. Kelly McGrath, CVHC physician. “I had a patient whose family was requesting a transfer to a larger hospital for ‘a second set of eyes’, but the patient wanted to stay here. I suggested that we consult with a member of our hospitalist team using the robot. He reviewed the patient’s plan of care with me, talked with the patient and family and concurred that everything that could be done was being done and there would be no medical benefit for a transfer. Sometimes those decisions are hard to make, but hearing from this specialist made a huge difference to me and to the family and patient.”
The CEO of InHouseTeleMD, Robert Zurcher says, “It is exciting to make a positive impact on the lives of patients, hospitals and communities. This is our commitment to quality service and healthy outcomes for all.” One of the telehospitalist providers, Dr. Peter Weitzman agrees, “Our role is to complement the treatment provided by the local physicians. We’ll work as a team to make informed decisions in the best interest of the patient.”
“If a decision is made to transfer the patient to Holy Family or Kootenai Medical Center then the hospitalist we’ve been working with already has a relationship with that patient and is familiar with their medical history which means a smoother transition and greater continuity,” said Dr. Gilbert.
The RP-7 robot is equipped with a stethoscope and other equipment including a video monitor that allows the remote specialist to examine the patient and view cardiac monitors or other devices in use by the patient. The remote specialists can also review the patient’s electronic health record system including their X-rays, CT scan or other electronic medical images. CVHC and SMHC were originally provided their robots through a grant received by St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise.
Healthy Horizons group to meet Tuesday
The Healthy Horizons Weight Management and Lifestyle Choices program will meet next Tuesday, November 9 in the Reception Area of the Cottonwood Medical Clinic from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. This is the third session, but anyone is welcome to join at any time. The group meets every other Tuesday at the same time and in the same place.
The educational topic for this session will be “Portion Control: A Means to Maintain or Lose Weight.” Class facilitators, Becky Ewing, RN, CDE; Kevin Conger, DTR and Vicki Berg, RN, CDE, will explain the principles of portion control and describe a sensible approach to weight management.
“We understand how difficult it can be to make daily decisions based on healthy choices, but learning new behaviors can help change our old routines and make us healthier,” said Ewing. “Throughout our sessions we’ll talk about behavior change. It’s challenging, but a necessary component if we are to make choices that are in our best interest. We also have fun in the class, too. It’s not all work and no play!”
For first time goers a fee of $10 will be payable at class. For those who have attended in the past there will be a $5.00 per session charge. Fees cover the cost of materials. For further information call Ewing at SMH, 962-3251.
CVHC to 'celebrate the season'
The Clearwater Valley Hospital Foundation will again usher in the holiday season with their 13th annual holiday fundraiser on Saturday, November 20th at the Best Western Lodge in Orofino. It will not only feature the Moscow based show band, The Kingpins, playing and performing their unique brand of fun, it will also feature a sale of decorated wreaths, a raffle for vacation packages and an oral auction of 12 exquisitely decorated miniature artificial green trees. A maximum of 200 tickets will be sold in advance.
“Last year’s event was a big success and lots of people asked us to bring back the Kingpins because they are so much fun to watch and to dance to,” said Lenne Bonner, CFO and one of this year’s planners. “Since bidding for vacation packages was popular we’ll also have a number of exciting places available at auction in addition to the professionally decorated mini trees. They’re small enough to fit into anyone’s home regardless of how much or how little they decorate!”
The dinner will be catered by Dining on the Edge with cocktails served at 5:30 followed by dinner at 6:30. “The function always provides an opportunity to dress up and get into the holiday spirit,” said Jim May, CVHC Development Director. “It also serves as one of our chief fundraisers with the monies dedicated to the long term Legacy fund which will provide funds for equipment purchases and capital improvements to help ensure future health care in our communities.”
$50 per person tickets are available. Most seating will be unreserved, but eight person$700 reserved tables are also available. $300 is tax deductible and purchasers will take home the special table decorations. Tickets can be reserved by calling the CVHC Foundation Office, 476-8033 or CVHC, 476-8005.
Clearwater Valley Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital partner to provide quality healthcare to the region. SMHC is planning a fundraiser for early Spring.
SMHC partners with UI on design
Last Friday, 18 students from the University of Idaho Interior Design program along with their professor toured, measured, photographed and took notes in the house recently purchased by St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics. The four bedroom home may eventually become an integrative health center adjacent to SMHC’s Cottonwood campus.
The students will work in groups to develop design plans. They will formally present their project ideas at a special meeting of hospital representatives on December 8th. The first year seniors will graduate with a degree in Interior Design and a minor in architecture after sharing classes with architecture students during their first two years of study.
Prior to the afternoon tour, Deanna English, RN and Integrative Health consultant, met with the students over lunch to describe some of the components found in other healing centers including rooms for massage therapy, areas for therapeutic yoga classes, systems for soothing lights and sounds, landscaping as a sound barrier, welcoming entrances and a consumer friendly kitchen for nutrition lessons.
Professor Shauna Corry prepared packets with background information and English suggested a number of websites and integrative healthcare providers to assist the students with their project plans. “Working on a project of this scope gives the students an opportunity to work with a real client, to document project needs and to use their creative ideas to produce tangible results which may be incorporated into the final building design,” said Corry. The students have also produced designs for the U of I golf course clubhouse, a remodel for the Deary Public Library and a comprehensive plan for the City of Bovill to repurpose several of their historic buildings.
Their efforts are part of a federal grant awarded SMHC and Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics to investigate the integration of traditional medicine with alternative healing modalities including ways to promote healing spaces in buildings that serve patients or residents.
“We’re not exactly sure of how we’ll use the house, yet,” said Casey Meza, CEO. “We’re investigating possibilities and having an integrative health center is one option we would consider. I am looking forward to hearing ideas from the students and appreciate the creative work they are doing to help us develop a vision.”